Sep 29th, 2019, 11:00 PM

What is ASM at AUP?

By Sabrina Aguirre
What Goes on Behind the Scenes of Student Media at AUP

At the American University of Paris, the start of the fall semester brings in not just new students and classes, but also, an entirely new ASM board. ASM is the student-run media program at the American University of Paris. Comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, each semester a new group of students is selected to run Peacock. 

Peacock is a platform that stretches across three different mediums and showcases student-work via Peacock Plume — a digital site; Peacock Play — a video platform; and Peacock Magazine — a biannual magazine. Even though Peacock focuses on local political and campus news, it also showcases articles and stories with a range of subjects including fashion, lifestyle, food, arts and culture. 

Since ASM is registered as a two-credit course, each semester students from all majors at the American University of Paris are allowed to enroll in one of the three practicums at no extra charge and receive academic credit. In addition to providing a space which gives students a platform to publish, organize and create a portfolio of their work, Peacock also allows students to get involved in local events and receive mentorship from field experts.

Students in the Online News Practicum Course Work on Stories During Weekly Class Photo Credit: Sabrina Aguirre

Veteran journalist turned professor Jurgen Hecker is not only the faculty advisor of ASM, but has also taught AUP’s Video Journalism course for the past six semesters. Having worked in several countries covering a range of topics including economics, fashion, music and climate change, Hecker’s role as an advisor, coach and teacher is essential to the program. Hecker feels that Peacock is the perfect platform for students interested in strengthening their skills as writers and reporters.

“[Peacock] allows students to benefit from an experienced journalist's input while retaining their editorial autonomy.”

As a working journalist, Hecker knows firsthand how news organizations function and brings that to both the platform and his classes. In the classroom, he fosters a genuine newsroom atmosphere that creates a seamless flow of news discussions, rapid well-informed pitches, the selection of angles, clear writing and assignments. 

Peacock Plume

Peacock Plume is the digital website that publishes new articles weekly. This semester, senior Signi Livingstone-Peters is the Editor-in-Chief. Livingstone-Peters is excited to lead the online platform as she believes that it “has the opportunity to become a source of local news not only for campus, but also for the anglophone community in Paris.”

“With the incredibly diverse multicultural and multilingual student body and staff, we have infinite possibilities to put a hyper-local spin on international and national news.” 

  Signi Livingstone-Peters, Editor-in-Chief of Peacock Plume Photo Credits: Signi Livingstone-Peters 

Since ASM has been a huge creative outlet for Livingstone-Peters, she joined the board because she wants to give back to ASM and help other students create work that they are proud of.

Peacock Magazine

Known for their semesterly launch parties, Peacock Magazine is the biannual, official magazine brought to you by the students of the American University of Paris. This semester, Kathleen Sharp, a senior who is double majoring in journalism and global communications, serves as Editor-in-Chief and plans to use her position to build ASM’s reputation as a journalism platform. 

“Our team’s goals include producing a high-quality, timely issue that represents the interests of the student body and anglophone youth in Paris.”

  Kathleen Sharp, Editor-in-Chief of Peacock Magazine

Even though Sharp is new to the ASM board, she has been a part of ASM for four semesters and fell in love with the magazine’s visual and content even before she was a student at AUP. During her senior year of high school, Sharp toured the university and remembers how she “snatched a copy… and [has] wanted to be a part of its creation ever since.” 

Peacock Play

Peacock Play is ASM’s video journalism platform that publishes videos on both Facebook and YouTube. This semester, Anita Maksymchuk,  a double major in International Comparative Politics and Global Communications is the Editor-in-Chief.  Above all, Maksymchuk wants to make sure that students master the basic foundational skills of video production so that they can have the capabilities to produce high-quality content.

“I want to focus more on the mastery of these basic skills than pushing for constant content production while sacrificing video quality.”

 Anita Maksymchuk, Editor-in-Chief of Peacock Play

After two semesters of being a student and one as an editor, Maksymchuk knows the video practicum well and finds that it has “been so rewarding to work with students to realize their artistic visions, and learning how to help them move through obstacles and develop communication skills.”

Peacock and Graduate Students

The involvement and role that undergraduate students have across Peacock’s three mediums is well established. Less known is the role that graduate students play in running the media platform. The MA Managing Board consists of the Managing Editor, the Marketing and Communications Director and the Business and Events Manager. Together, it is their responsibility to ensure that the internal and external operations align with the semester and year-long goals.

This semester, Alena Deveau is the Managing Editor. In this role, she is charged with overseeing content creation and production to ensure that it is both timely and relevant. A former intern at both the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama and at NBCUniversal, Deveau’s unique experiences allow her to offer the undergraduate students input into the world of multimedia journalism in high-profile, fast-paced environments.

“These experiences solidified [her] interest in news and journalism, which is what ultimately attracted [her] to AUP’s Global Communications Graduate Program and the exciting opportunity to serve the university and local community in this capacity.”

                                                                                               Alena Deveau, Manging Editor of Peacock Photo Credit: Alena Deveau

As the only co-curricular program at AUP comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, AUP’s student media is unique. Not only does Peacock facilitate a space where undergrad and graduate students can work together, but also creates a community where students from different majors can learn from one another while receiving guidance from field experts.

Want to contribute to ASM? Freelance is always looking for more writers. Contact for more details.